Despite the heat, the construction crew at the White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society worked a full day earlier this month, many leaving with smiles on their faces and a sense of accomplishment.
That’s because, for the second year in a row, a 40-man crew commissioned by Graham Construction gave back to the community through a renovation project.
Although staff at the hospice – which provides hospital and home care for people with advanced illnesses – had been in contact with the company’s Ladner office for some time regarding a renovation for the aging home where the society is based, society executive director Catherine Ferguson said she was shocked when the bus full of volunteers stopped in front of the hospice on July 13.
“I knew they had decided on our project, but I didn’t realize the capacity of how many volunteers there would be. They brought food and worked all-day long in that sun,” Ferguson said. “It has made a world of difference. Already, the staff are feeling really great about the space, it’s much more comfortable and now we can provide a nicer space for people in the community who need supportive care services.”
Graham Construction’s office administrator, Michelle Moore, said the company chose to help the society following a coworker’s experience with hospice.
“Recently, one of our guys had a brother in hospice, so it was something close to home for us,” she said. “Hospice does so much for others, we thought it would be nice to do something for them.”
Throughout the day, the crew planted, trimmed and repaired and painted the interior and exterior of the home, giving it a much-needed facelift, including the addition of a fan in the counselling office, replacing doors, adding new chair rails and creating a room for storage.
Sub-trades – including M&L Painting, Northern Building Supplies, Elgar Electric, Dick’s Lumber, General Paint, Westcoast Instant Lawns, Horizon Landscaping and Prompt Waste – donated staff and materials to help with the project, as well as the society’s rental property, adjacent to the home.
“They are having a hard time renting the property so we thought if we did something with the front yard, it would help make it more appealing,” Moore said. “Holy, that took us the whole day and it looked amazing when we were finished.”
This isn’t the first time the company has given back to the community. Last year, the company helped restore Vancouver’s Helping Spirit Lodge – a shelter for woman and children fleeing abuse, Moore said.
And while the projects cost a significant amount to complete, she said the company’s bottom line isn’t all about dollars and cents.
“It may have cost thousands of dollars, but we don’t really look at it that way. It’s that gratification you get when you’ve done a project and everyone goes home saying, wow, that was an amazing day.
“When everyone was thanking us and we took the group picture, everyone had that warm, fuzzy feeling.”